Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reviewing "Mongol"

Recently I sat on a film review of sergei bodrov’s new film “Mongol” and was asked to sit on a review panel of it. Being billed as the untold story of Genghis Khan I expected it to be an accurate docudrama. Instead, I found it to be more similar to a modern day “eastern” as there were quite a few historical inaccuracies in this movie.
For those not familiar with the “eastern” genre think of the “western” genre, only replace the cowboys and indians with cossacks and khans and you got an “eastern” for you. The reason this genre is not well known in the west is because most “easterns” are confined to the realm of Opera and theatre, and few Russian films make to the west. Most disturbing about this film was I was invited to be on the panel when “Mongol” was being shown as a teaching tool at a university where some friends of mine were teaching, and I was asked to speak when one of the professors found out I was a descendant of Ogodei after I pointed out some of the mistakes to him, and some visitors from Kazakhstan, that was when they asked me to speak there.
Basically, what is not accurate are the dates and events in the life of Genghis Khan which are portrayed in the movie. The abduction of Borte took place in 1183 and her rescue in 1184, not 1186 as the movie states. Nor did the battle of Dalan Balzhut occur that year as the movie states, but in 1187. Other than the cause of that battle, some of the followers of Jamukha defecting to Temujin, the future Genghis Khan, and the fight scenes, the story of that battle is inaccurate. The aftermath of that battle in the film, where Temujin is taken as a prisoner, sold into slavery, is based on conjecture. While a gap in the life of Genghis Khan from 1187 to 1192 exists, what is known is that Temujin spent most of it as a vassal of Wang-Khan, the Keriat ruler, the exact details are not known and bodrov uses artistic liscence and conjecture here. Most obvious to those who know the history of Genghis Khan is that by 1186 it shows Genghis having no children, when in fact Ogodei, the third son of Genghis Khan and his heir, was born in 1186.
Another battle inaccuracy is showing the battle of Koyitan in the year 1196, when in fact it happened in the year 1201. They even get the cause of that battle and it’s events wrong. That battle was caused by Jamukha’s election as Gurkhan of the Mongols. Jamukha attacked Temujin, and both fought. Temujin’s victory was gained with the help of Shamans who created lightning, ensuring victory for Temujin. After the battle Temujin allowed Jamukha to escape, not like in the film where Jamukha is captured. Once again, bodrov uses artistic liscence to confuse the facts.
What bodrov is more focused on is giving the audience what they expect from any film about the Mongols. That is gratitous violence, primitive settings, and excellent background music, which Mongol delievers on. What bodrov does not go into is why the Mongol’s behaved the way they do, and overall his film is full of wasted potential and shows the same retardian behavior, ie that of people from eastern Europe who waste their talents and wrongly hold back and who are the same type of people who coined the terms “mongoloid” and “moron” to describe those in society they considered defective. Where bodrov could have written about how a people who were shunned by others and who had to fight for survival and acceptance, he instead gave us a modern day eastern. Overall, ”Mongol” is full of wasted potential.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

r u really a mongolian descendant? quite interesting review. you pointed out all the reason why mongolians refused to collaborate.

8:05 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home